The final section of the Colorado Birding Trail – encompassing the northeast region of Colorado – has been completed. It finishes a major tourism initiative to promote outdoor recreation that started 15 years ago in time for bird enthusiasts to get out and celebrate the Year of the Bird. You can view the completed Colorado Birding Trail online at ColoradoBirdingTrail.com.
The Colorado Birding Trail started as a major nature tourism initiative to promote outdoor recreation, conservation of resources by private landowners, and a diversified income for rural economies. The trail is unique in that it’s not a physical trail, but a driving-tour map that brings together both public and private lands, with many of the private rural lands being open to visitation only through their participation as sites on the trail.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Statewide Public Programs Coordinator, Mary McCormac, has been involved with the northeast trail from the very beginning. She said the northeast region offers unique opportunities for Colorado birders.
“One of the special qualities of the northeast is urban birdin’, as we call it,” McCormac said. “Here you have some of the most populated areas of the state, yet there is an abundance of quality wildlife habitat you can explore not too far from home. And for people who may not have the means to travel to sites, these places in their neighborhood may help connect them to wildlife and the outdoors.”
McCormac said colorful spiral-bound books are being printed for distribution to the public this summer, but birders eager to get a jump-start on the recently completed northeast region can visit coloradobirdingtrail.com where all the current trail information has been updated.
“Getting out on the Colorado Birding Trail is a very easy way for people to get started caring about nature and the outdoors,” McCormac said. “They can choose what they want to do and where they want to go. They can travel to remote areas or stay close to home and discover new places they’ve never seen in their neighborhood. From there, you’re planting the seed of growing and fostering that love and appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors. Hopefully we then inspire conservation stewardship, and maybe even some future park rangers and wildlife officers to work for us or our partner agencies someday!”
The Colorado Birding Trail is a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife, American Birding Association, Audubon of the Rockies, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and Colorado Field Ornithologists. The trail was made possible by funding from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), which invests Colorado Lottery proceeds in outdoor recreation and land conservation projects across the state. Additional support for the project was provided by many federal, state, and nonprofit agencies.
“Whether folks are new to birding, real experts, or just headed out on the trail for fun with friends or family, we hope they enjoy their time exploring Colorado’s great outdoors along the Colorado Birding Trail,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian.
"The Colorado Lottery is thrilled that the development of the Colorado Birding Trail was made possible with Lottery proceeds,” said Colorado Lottery Community Relations Specialist Colin Waters. “Since 1983, we've given back more than $3.1 billion to wildlife and habitat preservation, education programs, and outdoor recreation. The Lottery encourages all Colorado residents and visitors to experience first-hand the hundreds of bird species that make Colorado home."
2018 is the Year of the Bird
2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate 2018 as the “Year of the Bird.” The Year of the Bird will celebrate the wonder of our feathered friends and provide an opportunity for people everywhere to recommit themselves to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years. More information about Year of the Bird is available on CPW’s website: http://cpw.state.co.us/year-of-the-bird.
Birding and Wildlife Viewing Tips
Follow these tips from animal behaviorists to watch wildlife without startling them or sapping their energy. Be prepared with a camera and tripod, binoculars, or a spotting scope. Give animals distance, you are in their backyard now!
Fade Into the Woodwork
Wear natural colors and unscented lotions. Remove glasses that glint.
Walk softly so as not to snap twigs or trample wildflowers.
Use at least a 400 mm lens.
Have the sun at your back – afternoon light is best.
Aim for featuring wildlife within its natural surroundings, not a full frame profile.
Let Animals Be Themselves
Resist the temptation to “save” baby animals. They are not abandoned, and mom is watching from a safe distance.
Give nests a wide berth. Your visit may lead predators to the nest or cause the parents to leave, exposing eggs or young to the elements.
Let animals eat their natural foods. Sharing your food may harm wild digestive systems and get animals hooked on handouts.
How to Use Binoculars
Find the subject with your unaided eyes.
Bring the eyepieces just under your eyes.
Sight the subject over the tops of the eyepieces.
Slowly bring the binoculars to your eyes and focus on your subject.